Is Leaving a Broken Needle Tip Okay?

I had a breast lift and reduction yesterday. The dr reported that surgery went well but said that he is required to inform me that a needle tip broke off and could not be located for removal. He said this is not a problem since tissue will likely surround it and it will be fine. He said surgery to try and get it out at this point would be too invasive for such a small object. Is he correct? Am I going to have any complications from leaving a needle tip in one breast?

Doctor Answers 3

Surgical Needle Tip Being Lost in Wound

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  A surgical needle tip may only be a 1 mm by 1mm, depending upon what was left.  You may not be able to find something this small.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

I would agree with surgeon

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You have a great surgeon that informed you about the needle and did not cause unnecessary trauma to your breast by searching for it. The only issue would be if you need MIR and you need to inform your radiologist about it. We use surgical clips and leave them behind routinely. You should do fine.

Is Leaving a Broken Needle Tip Okay?

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I concur with your surgeon's opinion. The chances of any problems are quite remote.

The needles are typically made of stainless steel, and many permanent implants and sutures are made of that material and those are desired to be left permanently in the body. 

The chances of causing damage looking for it are real, and there is the possibility of looking for it, doing some damage, and not finding it anyway. 

Enjoy the results of your surgery.

Thanks and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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